Self-employed corporate events organiser Michael Frosh, 57, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, submitted false self assessment tax returns from 2002 to 2007 to illegally evade around £65,000 in income tax on commission paid to him in the United Arab Emirates. Gross commission was paid into his Dubai bank account, which he then withdrew using ATMs in the UK to avoid detection.
The tax scam came to light in February 2007 after officers from Wiltshire Police Economic Crime Unit spoke with Frosh in relation to suspected money laundering offences. They then referred the matter to HM Revenue & Customs, who charged Frosh with fraudulent evasion of income tax, contrary to section 144(1) of the Finance Act 2000.
Last week, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and 80 hours of unpaid work as a community punishment order. He must also pay £5,000 towards his legal aid. Upon sentencing at Bristol Crown Court, His Honour Judge Horton said:
"The unpaid work you will serve will be a minute by minute reminder of what tax evasion will mean to you and others."
HM Revenue & Customs Assistant Director Criminal Investigation Pat Dunn said:
"Our investigators, with invaluable help from Wiltshire Police, have unravelled a deliberate tax scam. Frosh was and is a UK resident meaning UK tax rules apply and UK tax should have been paid. This criminal attack on the tax system not only robbed the exchequer, and therefore honest UK taxpayers, of public funds, but is also unfair to those that diligently abide by the rules.
"Tackling tax fraud is a priority for us and we will not hesitate to pursue those who commit this type of offence. Anyone who has information about suspected fraud can call the Customs' hotline on 0800 59 5000."
** Additional Information & Advice **
Depending on your circumstances, however, you may want to speak with a tax solicitor. You can find a solicitor for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.